Drug possession accused says cops mistook him for dealer

An Albouystown man, accused of drug possession, yesterday told a city magistrate that he was facing the charge because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Lerone Garris, 34 of 56 Cooper Street, Albouystown appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court One, where he pleaded not guilty to being in possession of 6.5 grammes of marijuana.

His lawyer, Natasha Vieira, in her bail application, stated that the police did not find the marijuana on her client’s person. She submitted that on the 13th of May, Garris was riding his bicycle in the vicinity of a yard the police were raiding. She asserted that the police then arrested the man without reason.

Vieira also told the court that when her client was arrested, an officer attempted to “out a cigarette” on his face. She said her client was also denied the opportunity to bathe and was not allowed to receive the food his girlfriend had taken for him at the lock-ups.

But Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield rejected the lawyer’s claims. According to him, on the day in question at approximately 12:45 pm, a police patrol in the area noticed Garris riding his bicycle and acting suspiciously. They stopped him, informed him of their suspicions and attempted to search him. However, before the police could conduct the search, Garris tried to discard a plastic bag. The plastic bag was retrieved and it was revealed that it contained seven smaller Ziploc bags with what appeared to be cannabis. He admitted to owning the bag and was subsequently charged and arrested, Mansfield said.

The case was transferred to court three before Magistrate Judy Latchman, who remanded Garris. Upon hearing the decision to remand him to prison, he became outraged. He asserted that he was on his way to buy kerosene oil to prepare a meal for his family when he was accosted by the police. He told the court that he was in fact stopped in front of someone who sells drugs. According to him, the man threw his articles on the ground and ran. However, instead of the supposed dealer being arrested, he was.

Garris’ next hearing will be at Court Three on the 15th of June.

 

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